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Award delight for Yard Project

PUBLISHED: 14:28 26 September 2008 | UPDATED: 21:23 05 July 2010

ALL SMILES: Youngsters from the Yard Project, who are runners-up in the National Crimebeat Awards.

ALL SMILES: Youngsters from the Yard Project, who are runners-up in the National Crimebeat Awards.

A PIONEERING project launched in Lowestoft three years ago to galvanise young people who weren't in education, employment or training was celebrating this week after being honoured at a national awards ceremony.

A PIONEERING project launched in Lowestoft three years ago to galvanise young people who weren't in education, employment or training was celebrating this week after being honoured at a national awards ceremony.

The Yard Project was spawned in late 2005 for a group of young care leavers that wanted hands-on opportunities in the workplace. And with the initiative providing a real working environment for the youngsters to learn the personal and practical skills they need to achieve employment, the scheme has led to major benefits for the individuals and the community.

In the past three years a derelict building, situated between Ashby Road and Norwich Road, has been transformed into a community training facility; rose gardens have been planted in the homes of elderly residents across Lowestoft; areas of the town have been cleaned-up; rural reed beds have been harvested; and the youngsters have been working with pupils at a local school.

And of the 54 young trainees that have been involved in the Yard Project, 75pc of them have progressed onto a new vocation.

After being nominated last year by the Waveney Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership for a county award, the Yard Project won the Suffolk High Sheriffs award. It led to it being nominated for the national awards and this week, there was further joy as they became the joint runners-up in the national Crimebeat Awards, which was held at London's Royal National Hotel.

Volunteer Geoff Young, who along with Peter Grubb have been involved since the inception of the project, were delighted.

“Apparently the reason they said why we had been so successful was down to the young people that attended the project - they had gained so much out of it and the outcomes were so good,” Mr Young said. “The lads are really made up about the award.”

Funding for the group has come from neighbourhood management community action group Lowestoft Together and support from other agencies and groups.

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